Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NIV Greek and English New Testament (Booknote)

I have received a copy of the NIV Greek and English New Testament edited by John R. Kohlenberger III (Zondervan, 2012), and here is a brief description focusing on the textcritical aspects of particular interest for our blog.

The book has the Greek and English (NIV, revised and updated 2011) texts side by side with textual notes and a concise Greek-English dictionary. The Greek text that underlies the NIV (NIVGT) was first established by J. R. Kohlenberger III and E. W. Goodrick for the NIV Exhaustive Concordance (Zondervan, 1990), which in turn was based on the 1984 edition of the NIV.

The Greek text behind the NIV was published in A Reader's Greek New Testament edited by R. J. Goodrich and A. L. Lukaszewski (Zondervan, 2003) and was one of the four editions used by our Mike Holmes as a starting point for his editorial work on SBLGNT (see his description here), whereas a second edition of A Reader's Greek New Testament (2006) published the Greek text behind the TNIV, as re-evaluated by Gordon Fee, one member of the committee working on The New International Version (TNIV) published 2002, 2005.

The NIVGT has subsequently been re-evaluated once again by J. R. Kohlenberger and D. Moo, chair of the committee working on TNIV. I do not know exactly to what extent this has led to any changes in the Greek text but Mike Holmes has said earlier on this blog (here #2) that the former NIV Greek text differed from the NA/UBS text "at about 235 or so places." Michael Clark then states in a review of A Reader's Greek New Testament (2d ed.) that the edition differed from the UBS in 285 places.
Now, according to the introduction of NIV Greek and English New Testament, this edition of NIVGT (more properly TNIVGT) has 384 differences (plus another  336 places where the only difference is that UBS places the text in square brackets), so it seems that the [T]NIVGT has moved away slightly more from the UBS for each stage of re-evaluation.

The introduction (p. ix) further indicates:

"The note 'UBS adds [xxx]' (usually in brackets) 191 times . . . ;"

"The note 'UBS omits xxx' occurs 13 times . . . ;"

"The note 'UBS reads xxx' occurs 54 times."

Personally, I think these figures are somewhat unhelpful because the notes indicate omissions/additions, substitutions (and presumably transpositions) in other ways apart from these phrases. It would have been better if we were given the totals for each type of variation instead of just the frequency of these phrases.

In addition, the notes mention all textual variants included in the NIV footnotes, such as comments on the Greek text underlying the KJV, and other significant variants.

Interestingly, the NIVGT treats the sections placed in double brackets in UBS4/NA27, considered by those editors to be later editorial expansions, in two different ways: Luke 22:43-44 and Luke 23:34a are retained in the text (with footnotes), whereas the Long Ending of Mark (16:9-20) and the Pericope of the Adulteress (John 7:53-8:11) are set in smaller Greek typeface, "to indicate even more clearly their uncertain status" (p. xiv). The Short Ending of Mark (after 16:8) is placed in a footnote.

Update: The post was updated on 26 June in relation to the different editions of NIVGT (or TNIVGT).


  1. "This Greek text behind the TNIV ... was one of the four editions used by our Mike Holmes as a starting point for his editorial work on SBLGNT."

    That can't be, can it? The TNIV had ORGISQEIS in its base-text in Mark 1:41. The NIV used by Holmes did not.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

  2. Thanks Jim, that was my mistake. I have updated the blogpost and hopefully it is more correct in terms of the history of these editions of the Greek text underlying the NIV and TNIV, respectively.